This category contains the intention-setting ideas from the monthly newsletter.

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Celebrate Diversity

Celebrate Diversity Month!

Celebrate Diversity Month takes place each April. It was initiated in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity of the world around us. It is a time to recognize and understand our differences, be it gender, race, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation and other factors while honoring the common essence of humanity. By appreciating our similarities and differences, the month aims to encourage a deeper understanding of others, regardless of who they are or how they live. It’s also an opportunity to increase diversity in the workplace and various academic fields. Diversity Month pushes us to seek this knowledge so that we can build a tolerant world that welcomes everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from. — Source: National Today.

Below are some intention-setting ideas for celebrating human diversity:

  1. Movie night.   Consider hosting a cultural movie night with friends and plan to spend some time afterwards discussing the impact it might have had on each of you.  Perhaps consider one of the following documentaries from last year:
    • Four Daughters
    • Beyond Utopia
    • 20 Days in Mariupol
    • Bobi Wine: The People’s President
  2. Cultural art.  Perhaps you explore a cultural art exhibit, either in-person or online, such as the Heritage Museum of Orange County or museums around the world.
  3. Food.  If you are foodie (and who isn’t these days!), consider exploring a local ethnic restaurant or market to sample food from a different culture.
  4. Music.  Music is a cultural universal form of art.  Although highly diverse in the structure and role, music is a common human experience.  Perhaps listen to music from around the world as it can provide an insight into another way of life.
  5. Shop.  Consider shopping with the intention to support a diverse business, especially one that might have been impacted by the pandemic.  Below are some options to explore in Southern California:

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Support Building Trust

If you have difficulty trusting others, you are not alone.  And, it might have more to do with a struggle to trust yourself.

Take a moment and think about why you trust someone else.  Did it happen over night?  Did it happen in response to one interaction?  Do you have faith in their abilities?  Do you feel that they care about you?  Do you feel they were being authentic with you?

Trust can be risky!  Trust is required for a healthy relationship and before we can have a healthy relationship with another, we must work on having a healthy relationship with ourselves.  If I were to ask you to remember a time when someone broke your trust, I imagine that most of us can quickly remember a time.  But if I were to ask you to remember a time when you broke your own trust, would it be so easy to recall?

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, trust has three core drivers:  authenticity, logic and empathy.  Therefore, trusting ourselves requires us to connect to our authentic selves, have compassion for ourselves, and align our choices with what we know to be true for ourselves.  Unfortunately, many of us struggle in this space due to the fear of being judged by others (AKA the need for approval by others) and/or the fear of disappointing others.

If you find yourself caught in this common human struggle, below are some intention-setting ideas for building trust in yourself:

  1. Accept yourself.   It is mission critical to accept all parts of ourselves, fully and unapologetically!  If you find yourself saying to yourself that there is a part, or parts of you that you hate, consider sitting with these parts and having an open dialogue.  Give those parts a voice, without judgment.  Remember, all parts of us come in service.  They adapted and adjusted to keep you safe.  Perhaps try writing down the messages that these parts continue to repeat so they know you have heard them.  Doing so creates space for you to thank them and to consider releasing them from service as they may be ready to retire!
  2. Lean on your values.  Breaking trust with ourselves is tied to our core values.  For example, if one of our core values is honesty and then we lie, we just dishonored ourselves and broke our trust with ourselves.  Therefore, if you find yourself in a dilemma or need to make a difficult choice, consider turning to your top core values and let them guide you.  Making the decision might be difficult in the moment; however, if it aligns with your core values, you will sense that alignment for much longer.  Perhaps display your top core values prominently in your home as a reminder to you as to what is most important, so they are in your awareness in those more challenging moments.
  3. Identify your strengths.  To build trust in yourself, start with what you know to be your strengths.  Consider making a list of your strengths and then build on them by doing more with them.  The key will be to honor the work, by perhaps journaling at the end of each day to recognize how you demonstrated your strengths that day.  For example, if you identified creativity as one of your strengths, write down all of the ways creativity showed up including any out-of-the-box solutions to mundane daily problems.
  4. Keep promises.  This applies to keeping promising to BOTH yourself and to others!  This requires setting strong and clear boundaries, including saying no, so others grow.  If you can’t (or don’t want to) do something, it is better to say no (even if it makes you very uncomfortable to do so) than to say yes and later break your promise.  Consistency in the outcomes (both when saying yes and saying no) is what builds (over time) a trustworthy relationship.
  5. Practice compassion.  As humans, we will make mistakes or take missteps.  However, one bad decision or broken promise does not make you a bad person.  Failures are vital to our growth and to discovering our core values and strengths.  Therefore, befriending our failures, missteps, and mistakes allows us to learn and expand instead of shrink.  Consider exercising your self compassion muscle (AKA the heart) by listening to a meditation and/or writing down what you would say to a dear friend in this space.  Then, the next time you experience a space of constriction, perhaps offering yourself those same kind words!

5 Intention-setting Ideas for Individual Growth

Celebrating the Month of Love

When we think about the month of February, it often brings up thoughts of Valentine’s Day.  It is also a month to honor American Heart Month and Black History Month.  And this year happens to be a leap year as well!

I believe what ties all of these occasions together is an opportunity for individual (mental, physical, emotional) growth.  When world challenges loom so large, we might feel helpless or even hopeless, which hurts our hearts.  Yet, if we create space to turn inward, to look at what needs tending in our own gardens, whether our physical health or weeding out old beliefs that are choking our ability to flourish, then we can find some peace in knowing that our individual growth will contribute to the evolution of the collective consciousness of the world.

Below are some intention-setting ideas for consideration to support your journey inward this month:

  1. Be kind.   A good starting point for individual growth is to be more kind towards yourself.  Consider ways (i.e., thoughts, actions) that you might offer yourself kindness this month.  Perhaps write them down and put them in a place that you can see your list each day, maybe by your bathroom mirror or stuck to your computer screen.  Remember, the universe gets confused by the word “No” and all other forms of it (i.e., not, can’t, won’t, isn’t).  So when constructing your Be Kind list, make sure the statements are framed in a positive format.  For example, saying “I won’t criticize myself.” is interpreted by the universe as “I criticize myself.”  A possible reframe might be “I offer myself compassion more when I make mistakes.”
  2. What matters most.  If we know what matters most to us, it becomes the rudder in the storms of life.  Consider taking some time this month (maybe under the new moon on 2/9 or to celebrate the Year of the Dragon on 2/10) to sit and write down what matters most to you.  Perhaps expand on the items you might identify with the “Why” it is important to you.  If you might want a starting point to support this effort, a list of values (from Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead) can be found here.
  3. Make a difference.  Once you have a better sense of what is important to you, let it guide you towards spaces that support focusing your energy in making a difference, whether to others or the planet.  Those spaces can be any size, not just large spaces.  Remember, if we all focus on our individual growth, trust that the collective growth will be HUGE.  So consider taking small steps and know it is enough, you are enough!
  4. Express gratitude.  Taking time to identify those people, places, actions and things that you appreciate creates space for joy to present and grow.  Reflecting on those moments of gratitude allows you to savor the experiences.  Exercising your gratitude muscles on a regular basis begins to tilt the natural tendency of the brain away from the negative and towards the positive, so we are better equipped to deal with adversity when it arises.  Consider options of starting a gratitude journal or identifying 3 things each evening before going to bed that you are grateful for.  If you wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble going back to sleep because the mind gets active, perhaps try and give it a bone by focusing on the three things you were grateful for from your day.
  5. Celebrate.  If you do try any of the above, it is important to take time to notice your progress and change and celebrate it!  Consider visualizing how you felt in the past when you took a positive step forward on your individual growth journey, no matter how small it might have seemed at the time.  Maybe it was finishing that book you had been reading for awhile or it was after you spent the day volunteering at an organization you align with.  Can you now visualize how you might congratulate yourself for taking that step forward?  Celebrate you everyday, not just on your birthday!

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Sharpen the Skills of Connection

Happy New Year!

Almost a decade ago, when I was contemplating what to name my business, I knew that I wanted the word “connection” in it because of my personal transformation from connecting with my authentic self and then connecting with others.  Making connections, and maintaining the health of those connections, continues to be at the top of my new year intention list.

Neuroscience has shown that humans are wired for connection.  It is a basic human need that is necessary to thrive.  However, that doesn’t mean all of us experienced healthy role models on how to stay connected to our authentic self and/or initiate, foster and deepen connections with others.  For those of us that might think we are not good at connecting, not all is lost.  Connecting includes skills that can be learned, practiced, and refined over time.  It is definitely worth your time and effort!

Below are some intention-setting ideas for exploring and enhancing the skills that support connection:

  1. Be present.   Setting aside time to be with others is important.  Research has shown connecting with others promotes health and happiness.  Yet it is not just the time we spend together.  It is the gift of your presence that makes the difference.  To be present requires us to pay attention.  This means we need to eliminate as many distractions (AKA smart phones) as possible, let go of the myth that humans can multitask, and dial down our own internal dialogue maker that is trying to identify a follow up response before the person has finishing speaking.  Yes, conversations are a two-way exchange and yet, perhaps try to notice beyond the person’s words for an underlying purpose or meaning for sharing.  From there, consider simply expressing appreciation to the person for sharing with you.  Then, watch their response!
  2. Listen deeply.  This skill is tied very closely with being present, so bundling them together will make practice that much easier.  To listen deeply to another, consider making eye contact with them, checking in with your body language to ensure it is open (i.e. avoid crossing your arms and legs as this is a more defensive posture), focusing on what the other person is saying with the intent to ask questions that are relevant or appropriate to what has been shared.  By doing so, the other person will feel seen and heard and will prevent the “Oh, I had a similar experience” reaction from taking over the conversation.  Contrary to popular belief, sharing your similar story does not necessarily make others feel seen and heard and, instead, can leave people feeling like you are in a competition for the best story (leading to less connection).
  3. Modulate your tone of voice.  This skill is a bit more nuanced.  It requires us to utilize variations in our pitch, pace, volume and inflection of our voice when speaking.  Sometimes the conversation will call us to match the tone of voice of the person we are speaking with, such as when they are expressing excitement about something, and other times it will require us to soften our tone, especially if the emotion being conveyed might be fear, anger, or sadness.  I have found that the more present I am in the conversation and the more deeply I am listening, my voice tends to modulate more naturally, as if it knows what tone is most needed in the moment for connection.  Consider trying to match the tone of someone that is sharing something they found exciting to them to start practicing this skill.  The more skilled you get with these subtle shifts in tone, the more you will notice your enhanced ability to connect with others in diverse situations.
  4. Apologize for mistakes.  Being human means you will make mistakes.  Making mistakes is how we learn as humans.  And sometimes our mistakes impact other people.  Unfortunately, when they do, most of us have not been taught how to own up to the impact and apologize for any harm it may have caused to the other person.  Offering a meaningful apology is part of the formula for healthy and connected relationships.  Apologies start with “I’m sorry.”  Apologies that contain words such as “but” or “if” or “may” imply that the apology is conditional and does not reflect ownership to the mistake, increasing the likelihood of further disconnection.  Healthy apologies that deepen connections are ones that are specific and sincere, reflecting ownership to the mistake and the impact it had on the other person, while sitting with the discomfort that the other person may not accept your apology.  I know this intention might be a difficult one for many of us to implement.  Perhaps the next time you sense the need to apologize to someone, consider writing it down first to ensure it conveys unconditional ownership to the mistake and it specifically addresses the impact the mistake had on the other person.
  5. Share.  Deep connections with others require a willingness to reveal ourselves through sharing both our struggles and our joys.  Yes, I mean we must embrace our vulnerability and begin to see it as our superpower.  Sharing our vulnerabilities, including our fears and insecurities, allows others to experience us as fully alive humans moving through a complex world.  This type of sharing opens the door to genuine and meaningful conversations by creating space for others to feel safe to do the same.  Sharing vulnerable parts of ourselves builds trust, which, over time, deepens our relationships.  If you choose to dip your toe into the pool of vulnerability, consider first to whom you might want to practice this skill with and second, what it is you might want to reveal about yourself.  Take it slow and my suggestion would be to not dive into the deep end too quickly!


5 Intention-setting Ideas to Awaken Your Soul

Spiritual Literacy Month

Spirituality is not religion yet it does means something different for everyone.  For some it might refer to the journey of self-discovery and for others it might be a sense of connectedness to themselves, others and the world around them.  It might mean the process of identifying our purpose in this world or finding meaning in our lives.  It might be in relationship to a higher vibrational energy, whether embodied in a formalized religion or in nature.

Research is starting to show that whatever spirituality might mean to you, it can improve your overall health and wellbeing.  So becoming more spiritually literate can be at the least an educative experience (i.e., expanding the mind and heart) and perhaps even transformative, by deepening your faith (i.e., good for the soul).  By learning about different spiritual perspectives, it supports a deeper understanding of others, creating space to invite in more acceptance and peace.

Therefore, to support your health and wellbeing and the expansion of the collective consciousness of the world during this holiday season, below are some ideas to celebrate Spiritual Literacy Month:

  1. Read.   Consider picking up a spiritual book in order to expand your mind.  Invite your curiosity forward to be fully present when reading it.  I recently read Home at the Tree of Life by Dr. Elena Gabor and found it quite interesting, if not somewhat comforting.
  2. Visit.  Perhaps plan a visit to participate in a spiritual gathering.  Maybe you have a friend that has a particular spiritual orientation which has peaked your interest in the past.  Consider reaching out and asking if there are any particular spiritual gatherings coming up this month that you might join them at to explore.
  3. Watch.  Sometimes movies can touch our hearts and expand our minds.  If this resonates with you, consider scheduling some time to watch an inspirational (AKA spiritual?) movie.  I’ve listed some recent ones below from different genres to start your list:
    • Dog
    • Elvis
    • Hallelujah:  Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song
    • Women Talking
    • After Death
  4. Contemplate.  To quite your mind a little during this very busy time of year, perhaps try a contemplative practice to bring your mind more present in the moment.  It might simply be to sit for a minute and watch your breath moving in an out of your body.  Or it might be to stop what you are doing for a few moments to fully feel your feet on the ground.  Or perhaps it is a silent hike on your favorite hiking trail to connect more fully with Mother nature.  To maximize the benefit of your contemplative practice, consider having a journal nearby to write any intentions for the new year that might arise from your heart after the practice!
  5. Retreat.  If resources allow, consider a more immersive experience by going on a spiritual retreat.  Such retreats are offered locally as well as in far-away lands.  Some can be a couple of hours and others can be for a week or more.  The opportunity to more deeply connect with others while remaining in a space of acceptance and curiosity can be truly life changing!

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Move Through Grief

Holidays are not always the happy events portrayed in movies.  Often times they activate a mixed bag of emotions and can leave us feeling sad, angry, depressed, confused, lonely, fearful, helpless, and hopeful.  Yes, hopeful.

Hope is a human tendency of our authentic self and a universal invitation.  It is the same emotion that allows us to think this holiday season will be different, that everyone will embrace the holiday spirit and bring forward their best selves.

Yet holidays are often a reminder of the things we have lost, whether loved ones, the possibilities of a life not lived or world peace.  With the current world events creating a ripple effect that spreads shock, fear and grief, it’s important to recognize that holidays can be a challenging time for most of us for different reasons.

Therefore, below are some ideas for moving through grief that might arise during the holiday season:

  1. Acknowledge the loss.   Sometimes we recognize the feelings, yet try to ignore them, especially if it is not clear why we are feeling them.  Consider taking some time out to identify any losses you may have experienced.  This can include the loss of a job, a relationship, a pet, a cherished dream, your health, safety, or selling your home.  It could also be something that culturally has been celebrated in the past, such as graduating from high school or college, changing jobs, moving away from home to a dream location, and retirement.
  2. Acknowledge the pain.  If you sense the emotions coming up and you are able to identify the loss or losses, acknowledge and allow the pain to be present.  Ignoring it will only create more challenges down the road.  Experiencing pain is the normal, natural human response to the loss of something meaningful to us.  And the only way to heal the pain is through it.  There is not a way around it.  So consider creating a space, place and/or time to sit with the pain and honor the loss.
  3. Accept all emotions.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve and it is important to know that the experience can bring up different, and sometimes surprising emotions, such as relief.  Consider releasing any expectation (aka myths) around grieving and don’t listen to someone trying to tell you how you feel or should feel at any point through the journey.  Each path through loss is unique and cannot be compared to another’s.
  4. Slow down.  The stress that comes with a loss will deplete your energy and it is important to recognize this experience.  Accepting that the desire “to do” will not be burning so brightly as you travel through your grief creates space for simply being.  Consider giving yourself permission to put off what does not need to be done at this time.  Or perhaps asking someone else to take something off your “to do” list.
  5. Ramp up self care.  It will be important for you to prioritize your physical care, including sleeping, eating, and exercising.   Maintaining your routines as much as possible brings emotional and mental comfort and temporary relief, creating space for healing.  Consider spending additional time in those spaces that bring you happiness and joy.  Doing so does not invalidate or ignore your grief and, instead, increases your resiliency by allowing all emotions to co-exist.

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Fulfill the Universal Basic Human Need for Play

In my experience, part of why adolescents struggle with the transition to adulthood is tied to the balance between work and play.  The cultural pressures to academically succeed to ensure future financial independence and stability doesn’t create a whole lot of space for play.  In addition, they watch their parents struggling to make time for self-care and play.  The future that they see doesn’t look too appealing and certainly not fun.  So, it’s no wonder that they might resist leaving their childhood behind.

Therefore, I think it is important for all of us to embrace that play is a universal human basic need, regardless of your biological age.  It is mission critical to create time and space for play as the balance it brings invites joy and peace into not only our lives, but the lives of those around us.

Therefore, below are some ideas for inviting more play into your life:

  1. Observe.   Children and animals innately know how to play.  So, consider taking some time to simply watch and learn.  You might notice their natural curiosity and/or how present they are in the moment.  You might also notice that children haven’t learned how to worry about what others think of them yet, so they might act silly.  So observing can help us to reconnect to that part of us that didn’t care what others thought of them and were so focused and curious that they allowed themselves to simply be silly!
  2. Play Journal.  When you notice yourself smiling and/or laughing, perhaps consider opening your journal and starting a “Play” section by writing it down.  Keep adding ideas as you observe others at play, especially any activities that remind you of when you played as a child that brought you joy.  Maybe it was dancing, playing cards or board games, and/or coloring or painting.
  3. Move.  The human body was designed to move.  Like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, we will rust and stiffen if we don’t move.  Therefore, consider going outside to simply move.  It might be to take a walk or a run in the neighborhood, a hike on a nearby trail, a stroll at the beach or through a botanical garden, or it could be to participate in an ecstatic dance class.  Perhaps afterward, reflect on how moving your body shifted something in your mind and heart!
  4. Join In.  If you might be up for trying something new to feed our natural need for novelty, consider joining a local group.  Not sure where to start, try MeetUp for ideas.  Some options include rock climbing, museum visits, escape rooms, croquet, singing, knitting, meditation, quilting, yoga and so much more!
  5. Game Night. If you are more inclined to stay closer to home, consider organizing a neighborhood game night.  Perhaps bring up the idea of making game night a monthly activity, where each person gets to pick the game of their choice, so everyone has the opportunity to try something new.

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Celebrate National Yoga Awareness Month

Let’s celebrate all things YOGA!

Yoga changed my life, literally and figuratively.  I now measure my life in terms of Before Yoga (BY) and After Yoga (AY), because it is so very different today.  I was showing all of the signs of having Metabolic Syndrome, which was a wake up call to start doing something different or end up on prescription medications for the rest of my life.  I knew enough that all of the signs and symptoms could be reversed by life style changes.  Easier said than done!

Then I discovered yoga, first the physical practice on the mat in group yoga classes, and then all of the other contemplative practices that are encompassed by the practice of yoga.  The most powerful aspect of yoga for me personally was the breath practices.  When I changed the way I breathed, it invited in so many other changes, including but not limited to what and how I ate, changing my reactions into responses, and making space for more compassion both for others and myself.  I’m proud to say that at age 60, I am part of the 15% of the US population NOT on any prescription medications!

Therefore, to celebrate this powerful lifestyle of yoga, below are some ideas for your consideration:

  1. Read about yoga.   If you have very little experience or knowledge of the practice, perhaps consider taking some time to read about the benefits of yoga, and not just the physical practice that includes poses, or asanas.  You might start with Yoga Alliance, which has a dedicated section on their website for research into the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of such practices.
  2. Try a class.  If you might be interested in attending a group yoga class, my recommendation might be to start with a gentle class.  There are MANY different styles of yoga.  Consider finding where classes are offered locally and reading about the class descriptions beforehand.  When taking any class, it is important to know that yoga is a very personal practice.  You are not in competition with the other students and can modify however feels good to you.  There is no perfect shape as every body is so unique.
  3. Post.  This month, while practicing yoga, consider taking and sharing pictures on your social media to spread the word.  Get creative and share ones of you meditating or practicing Ahimsa or Saucha!  Here’s a TikTok video of a woman saving a bumble bee with a broken wing for inspiration!
  4. Journal.  Did you know that self-study is part of the second limb of the eight limbs of yoga, specifically Svadhyaya as one of the Niyamas?  Compared to psychotherapy in its present form which came many centuries later, this ancient practice honored that to attain inner peace, it is critical to make time for introspection.  If you are not a journaler, perhaps consider giving it a try this month.  If you are a regular journaler, consider adding a little extra time to your reflections this month.
  5. Go green.  Another overall aspect of yoga is that it celebrates our connection to the earth.  In fact, many of the yoga poses are named after nature and animals, like cow, cat, mountain, downward-facing dog, crow, tree, lotus and eagle.  To celebrate all things yoga this month, perhaps consider how you might “Go Green”, starting with recycling and adding using reusable bags, water bottles and food storage containers, hang dry your clothes, and walk and bike more.

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Transform Your Life!

Say ‘YES’ to you!

Saying ‘No’ to others can create an internal conflict as it challenges cultural messages that encourages and rewards our external focus.  Many of us received conflicting messages as we grew up, such as that we ‘should’ help others or we will be seen as callous but if we ask for help we will be seen as weak or perhaps dependent in a culture that promotes independence as an ideal.  Another conflicting message that we might grapple with inside is when people compliment you as big hearted when taking care of others but denigrate you as selfish if you take care of yourself.  Such conflicting messages can hold us in a space that is ripe for symptoms of anxiety and depression to grow.

It might appear to be contradictory, yet I have learned that saying ‘no’ is actually quite freeing.  It actually was a significant step in transforming my life!

Learning to embrace what is most meaningful to you will not only transform your life, but will contribute to the transformation of the world!  And saying ‘Yes’ to what is most meaningful to you (and saying ‘No’ to others) is not selfish, it is SELF-CARE!

Instead of feeling like you have no control over your life and that you are moving through the world at the beck and call of others, focusing on what matters the most to you and saying no to anything that does not align with that vision will create space to transform your life into one of presence and peace.

I know it can be scary to imagine saying ‘No’ to others, especially to those that we love, so below are some ideas to motivate you to take some small steps forward on your journey of transformation:

  1. Create Space.   When we are programmed to say ‘yes’ to any and all requests made of us, it creates a great deal of pressure to multi-task more, dividing our attention into smaller and smaller pieces that get difficult to juggle.  We overcommit and move into a space of fear of disappointing others when we cannot continue to meet all of those obligations.  We find ourselves always busy, yet unable to be fully present for anything.  We might feel like we are constantly running on a treadmill, not sure if we are heading in a positive direction or just running in circles.  Consider the most recent time you said ‘yes’ to something that you really didn’t want to do.  Reflect on how much time that commitment took to complete, time that you might have done something different.  What would you have done differently in that time that would have felt more fulfilling to you?  When we are able to say ‘no’ to requests that don’t align with our values and passions, we create space to engage with our unique gifts that bring joy to the world through bringing more joy to us!
  2. Reduce Burnout.  When we begin to extract ourselves from the pattern of overcommitting ourselves to others, we reduce the number of times we find ourselves in a double bind.  The double bind of choosing others over choosing ourselves creates an internal stress that simmers below the surface constantly.  That internal stress continues to build over time and creates inflammation in the mind and body.  Eventually, that stress and inflammation presents itself as dis-ease or illness.  Consider for a moment how you might recognize when your mind or body asks for a break.  Do you listen to it or do you dismiss it?  If you are unable to recognize when the mind and/or body ask for a break or you do, but you dismiss it on a regular basis, your body will eventually starts to show signs of it breaking down that can no longer be ignored.  It is inevitable, because we are not superheroes.  We are human beings with limitations and that’s okay!  If you begin to reduce those ‘double bind’ spaces by saying ‘no’ to those things that drain you, you are reducing your risk of burnout and future health challenges.
  3. Deepen Relationships.  Take a moment to think about a time when you felt fully seen, heard and known.  It is in those moments that presence enveloped the connection in your relationship.  The greatest gift we can give others it our presence, yet being overcommitted challenges our ability to be present.  As human beings, we thrive in healthy relationships that prioritize presence through time, attention and attunement.  With this knowledge, we need to accept that our time and attention are limited and, with that acceptance, begin to take steps towards tuning into our own needs and deepening the relationship with ourselves.  From there, it is easier to identify those healthy relationships in our lives, where if we say ‘no’ it will be respected and recognized as an honest response.  Consider practicing saying ‘no’ in one of your healthy relationships to observe their acknowledgement of your response.  Perhaps your response might sound something like “I’m not able to connect with you in this way at this time as it would not allow me the space to be fully present with you, which is what I want to give you because you are so important to me.”
  4. Expand Respect.  I would anticipate that most people value respect and want to be respected.  In order to command respect, it requires us to respect ourselves first.  If we don’t respect our time and boundaries, by saying ‘yes’ to all requests, then others learn to not respect our time and boundaries.  Consider any beliefs you might hold that guide you to respect others by accommodating all requests, yet prevent you from accommodating requests that fulfill you.  Is there a subconscious belief that if you say ‘no’ to others it is rude or disrespectful?  If so, you can begin to challenge that belief by recognizing that always saying ‘yes’ informs others that your time and boundaries are open to be intruded upon.
  5. Find Balance.  Many ancient cultures promote balance as one of the most important core values to hold.  They point to nature as a reflection of that core value, highlighing how nature is perfectly balanced and, as such, is able to bend, rather than break.  Perhaps take some time to sit with and reflect on such a core value.  Does it resonate with you?  Does it call to you?  Focusing on what matters most to you, getting aligned with and living by your core values, brings balance.  When we feel overwhelmed due to being constantly overcommitted, it is THE red flag of being out of balance.  Learning to say ‘no’ is the first step you can take to invite more balance into your life, fostering an environment ripe for well-being that is reflected in your mental, physical and emotional health!

5 Intention-setting Ideas For Remembering You Are Good Enough

Most of us experience self-doubt at times, which is normal especially when we are trying something new.  However, if self-doubt feels all consuming, it will hold us back from experiencing life fully.  When we become aware that self-doubt is starting to stifle our passion for life, we may need more tools to overcome it.

Self-doubt can grow from different life experiences, such as past negative experiences or from adverse childhood experiences that challenged our innate self-worth.  If we grew up in a critical environment that informed us no matter what we do it will never be good enough, we will more likely experience self-doubt.  And a culture that has a laser focus on achievement, that implies conditional love, can actually do more harm than the intention to motivate us, setting us up for failure and the development of that nasty core negative belief that we will never be enough.

Therefore, to challenge that sense of self-doubt within, below are some ideas to try for remembering you are innately good enough, with unique individual inherent gifts to bring to the world:

  1. Strengths.   Consider sitting down to write out a list of your strengths.  Consider what you are good at.  If you need help to get started, ask several people you are close to for their perspective.  Keep in mind too those things you enjoy, even if you wouldn’t considering yourself “a pro” or “perfect” at it.  Once you create the list, keep it out and available to review, because you will most likely continue to identify other strengths that need to be added!
  2. Values.  Identifying our core values might be a little trickier.  Consider trying out one of the lists online, like Brené Brown’s list or Marshall Rosenberg’s needs list.  When you are able to connect with what you value most, the fear of criticism from others is challenged.  When you start to let those same core values guide you in your life decisions, the criticism of others doesn’t sting as deeply and, when you make mistakes, there is more room for self compassion.  Again, perhaps keeping a list of your core values out where you can see them on a daily basis and consider revisiting them to refine the list as those values become clearer to you.
  3. Talk to Yourself.   When that inner critic rears its ugly head and tries to tell you that you are not good enough, talk to yourself as though you were talking to a young child.  What would you say to them?  Consider reminding them (yourself) of their (your) strengths and core values.  Might you also tell them (you) that it is okay to fail, because that is where life lessons come alive?  Try giving yourself the same support and encouragement you would give someone you care about when they are experiencing self-doubt.
  4. Comparisons.  Everyone has different strengths, distinct definitions of success, and divergent journeys.  We also all have different quirks and imperfections as we are all human beings.  Therefore, when we compare ourselves to others, we are comparing apples to oranges, which creates fertile soil for that negative belief that we are not good enough to grow.  Now, comparing things in and of itself is natural and normal.  It is how we decide if we prefer apples over oranges.  So, to feed the human inclination to compare ourselves, perhaps consider comparing yourself to yourself.  Reflect on where you were a month ago, 6 months ago, a year ago or 10 years ago.  What challenges did you lean into, what did you learn, and how have you grown?  Did you discover new strengths and values?
  5. Be Grateful.  Consider expressing gratitude for yourself each day that you get up and show up.  Perhaps showing up for you means participating in an act of self care or using one of your strengths to support yourself.  Perhaps it includes aligning your actions with your values, not someone else’s.  See if you might be able to simply be grateful for existing, honoring your innate value as a human being.  Remember we are imperfect human beings not perfect human doings!